Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hate Eight?

Eight kinds of husbands and wives
2007 is some three weeks old and for sure a lot of you have been hearing and will be hearing wedding bells before January ends. As I stated in my article “June brides, wedding vows and coming attractions”, it is a myth, an urban legend that more people get married in June than any other month of the year. The truth is, as figures from the National Statistics Office would bear me out, more Filipinos get married in January than in June or in any other month.

The more sobering truth however is that for a lot of starry-eyed brides and grooms, they will find out who their husbands and wives really are only after the wedding. After the romance-filled, headlong rush into marriage, stark reality will set in and men and women will begin to ask themselves, “Who is this person I married?”

In a previous article “Oldies but Goodies”, I mentioned Cecil G. Osborne’s book “The Art of Understanding your Mate.” Osborne’s book (by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan) was published way back in 1970, some 37 six years ago! Back in 1970, bell bottom pants and long hair were the norm for men; the rock group Led Zeppelin ruled the airwaves; martial law had not yet been declared; and I was a first year high student in Rizal High School in Pasig. Those were the days, my friend! As the 1970’s song says, “We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun …”

In that brief review of Osborne’s book, I mentioned his Ten Commandments for husbands and wives. Another very interesting portion of Osborne’s book is his two chapters discussing eight kinds of husbands and eight kinds of wives.

Please take note that Osborne’s book is drenched with psychology. His book is filled with the psychological buzzword “neurotic”. There is, as you know, a raging debate between theology and psychology. My own views tilt heavily towards theology rather than psychology. I recommend that you read “Beyond Seduction: A Return to Biblical Christianity” by Dave Hunt; “Our Sufficiency in Christ” by John F. MacArthur; and the works of David Powlison and Randy Alcorn.

Although I may not agree with everything he says or recommends, Osborne’s classification of the eight kinds of husbands and wives makes very interesting reading. Okay, here we go with Osborne’s eight kinds of husbands (with a short description of each):

[1] The explosive, argumentative, domineering husband: Because of immaturity and feelings of inferiority, this man becomes a tyrant over his wife and children through shouting, intimidation (whether physical or verbal), and never admits that he has made a mistake.

[2] The compulsive husband: The compulsion may expresses itself in various forms – addiction to alcohol or drugs, over-devotion to work or any activity that either insulates him from close emotional relationships or from criticism.

[3] The uncommunicative husband, further classified into (a) the passive, shy male; (b) the “strong, silent” husband; (c) the limited conversation husband; and (d) the turned-off” husband.

[4] The child husband: Either this kind of husband has to prove his masculinity over and over again, or he is still tied to mother’s apron strings.

[5] The hypochondriac husband: Remember the 1985 movie “Innerspace” starring Meg Ryan, Dennis Quaid and Martin Short? Hypochondriacs think they suffer from all kinds of sicknesses.

[6] The passive, silent passive, or retreating husband: Either because of early childhood upbringing or a failure in work, this kind of husband has retreated into the safety of his own world, refusing to communicate with his family.

[7] The playboy husband

[8] The neurotic tightwad: Remember that famous scene in “Gone With The Wind” where Scarlette O’Hara promises herself that she will be never poor or go hungry again? Well, this kind of a husband fears not having money and thus keeps a tight watch over the family’s finances, with his own needs taking first place over that of his family.
Okay, okay, the wives among you might right now be nodding your heads vigorously and saying “Yes, yes, that’s exactly what my husband is like, and I just can’t wait to tell him to go and buy a copy of Osborne’s book so he can be the husband I want.” Well, hold your horses, ladies, and let’s first see Osborne’s list of the eight kinds of wives. Okay, here we go!

[1] The overly-dominant wife: By whatever means, fair or foul, by threats or feigned sicknesses, this kind of wife gets her way with her husband and family.

[2] The narcissistic woman: The whole world revolves around her; her husband and children exist to praise and affirm her.

[3] The adult-infantile wife: Age does not guarantee growth in areas of personal responsibility, and this kind of a wife clings to her immature notions of married life.

[4] The masculine-protest wife: This kind of a wife exhibits frigidity, either emotionally or sexually, and may have had a highly idealized father or brother, a domineering or a weak, passive father.

[5] The martyr-wife: She gets attention she craves through her failures in life, her various illnesses, etc.

[6] The passive-aggressive wife: This kind of wife, says Osborne, exhibits “passive and submissive, with aggressive and hostile tendencies.”

[7] The jealous-possessive wife: Having lost a father or a beloved male figure, through death, separation or some other reason, this wife now strangles her husband with constant jealousy and suspicions about his activities and acquaintances

[8] The depressed wife: Boredom, fatigue, sickness, any of several things may cause this wife to plunge into depression.
Okay, okay, the husbands among you might right now be nodding your heads vigorously and saying “Yes, yes, that’s exactly what my wife is like, and I just can’t wait to tell her to go and buy a copy of Osborne’s book so she can be the wife I want.”

Perhaps the most common criticism I’ve heard from women about their husbands is on their husband’s lack or failure to meaningfully communicate with them. All they hear from their husbands are, “Where are my slippers? Is dinner ready? Did you remember to iron my shirts? Sssh, be quiet, Angel Locsin’s on TV right now!” These women can’t understand how and why their husbands can, on the other hand, communicate so well with their colleagues at work, or why they can be so emotionally expressive while watching basketball games on television.

What does Osborne recommend that wives do when their husbands fall into any one of the classifications mentioned above? Well, in page 144, Osborne says, “A neurotic husband (and of course everyone is neurotic to some degree) needs precisely the very thing his wife feels incapable of giving him - loving tolerance. At the time he is the most unreasonable he is in need of the greatest amount of understanding and patience.”

As for husbands married to wives falling within any of Osborne’s classification, he says among other things:
“Creating the right emotional climate in the home is chiefly a wife’s responsibility. If she seems unable to achieve this, it becomes the husband’s responsibility to discover what he can do to help her create a wholesome atmosphere. A depressed, demanding, possessive, complaining wife – who may have much to complaint about – is setting the stage for marital discord. If she can, without anger or threats, make her needs known, she stands a better chance of working out a satisfactory marriage. If she cannot do this alone and unaided, she needs the help of a marriage counselor or some qualified person who can aid her in sorting out her feelings and finding a creative solution.”

You might also want to re-read my article entitled “Priceless counsel from a bargain sale book: How to save your marriage alone” where I reviewed Dr. Ed Wheat’s book “Love Life for Every Married Couple”. If you’re a wife who’d like to understand what makes your husband the way he is, please read my article “Why do men think the things they think, say the things they say, and do the things they do?

Osborne’s full discussion of the characteristics of the eight kinds of husbands and wives makes for great reading. Please try to get hold of Osborne’s book. The last time I went to OMF Literature bookstore in Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong, I think I saw two or three copies of Osborne’s book. I don’t know if Osborne’s book is available in other Christian bookstores. But hey, if you want to read more about the characteristics of the eight kinds of husbands and wives, the bookstores will open on Monday at around 9 AM and you can pick up the remaining copies of Osborne’s book. Don’t be late, okay? I hate late!

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